Fantasy Football week 2
Posted on Thu, Sep. 15, 2005
SoCals link: http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald...l/12655276.htm
Week 2 players to start, players to avoid
Forget Peyton Manning and Randy Moss. This weekend, fantasy football is all about Frisman Jackson and Chris Baker.
If you've never heard of these guys, you're probably already way behind in the crucial early season free agent chase. The obscure pair tops the list of highly sought undrafted players after Jackson caught eight passes for 128 yards and a touchdown for Cleveland, and Baker had 124 yards and a score for the Jets.
Does it matter that Trent Dilfer is Jackson's quarterback and that Chad Pennington can't seem to hold onto a snap for New York? Nope. This is no time for critical thinking; it's time to gamble on just about any stranger who comes along with big stats or a chance to start.
A few early season free agents take off every year, and Jackson and Baker could be the guys. Other prospects so far include Joey Galloway (Bucs), Marty Booker (Dolphins), Robert Ferguson (Packers), Patrick Crayton (Cowboys) and Ron Dayne (Broncos).
While free agents might not crack your Week 2 lineup, here are some players you should start (aside from the painfully obvious ones), some you should avoid and a few long shots who just might pay off:
A SAFE BET
_ Usually Donovan McNabb is such an obvious start that he's not worth mentioning. But he's listed as questionable with a chest injury against the suddenly defensive-minded 49ers. He says he'll play, so start him.
_ Trent Green of the Chiefs spent most of last week watching Larry Johnson and Priest Holmes combine to run for 195 yards. But he should have plenty of open receivers as Oakland stacks the line to stop the 1-2 running punch. Oakland stopped Corey Dillon last week, but Tom Brady went for 306 yards and two scores.
_ Speaking of the Raiders, Kerry Collins seemed at times disoriented against the Patriots. Oh yeah, he also threw three touchdown passes. He faces a Chiefs defense that has improved but still allowed 333 passing yards to the Jets - a team still working on that complicated "hike" sequence.
_ After one game, Atlanta's Michael Vick still looks like the league's only run-first quarterback. But start him anyway and watch him rack up fantasy points on the ground against the Seahawks, who generally frown on tackling people.
_ So maybe Daunte Culpepper's Vikings have no star receiver, no offensive line, no running game and a new offensive coordinator who doesn't coordinate much offense. Culpepper's too good not to bounce back from a five-turnover, zero-touchdown opener.
TAKE A SHOT
_ Anthony Wright of the Ravens fills in for an injured Kyle Boller against a timid Titans defense. He hasn't played since 2003, the year he filled in for an injured Boller against a timid Seahawks defense and had 319 yards and four touchdowns.
BACK AWAY SLOWLY AND NOBODY GETS HURT
_ Please, in the name of Ryan Leaf, don't start whoever wins the Redskins quarterback raffle. Also avoid Houston's David Carr, Chicago's Kyle Orton, Buffalo's J.P. Losman and Pennington.
ALL DAY LONG
_ Don't bench Willie Parker until Pittsburgh does. The AFC offensive player of the week could have another couple hundred yards if the Texans remain disinterested in football.
_ Jamal Lewis of the Ravens tanked against an improved Colts defense, running for just 48 yards. But he's getting healthier and the Titans defense is getting sicklier.
_ Is Atlanta's Warrick Dunn as good as he looked Monday, or are defenses so freaked out by Vick that they forget about him? Either way, he has gone over 100 yards in five of his last seven games, including a 132-yard effort at Seattle in January.
_ Ahman Green didn't do much last week as the Packers' offense stagnated, and what yards he did get he earned all by himself. But even with the Pack's shaky line he's a good start against the Browns, who had the NFL's worst run defense last year and opened the season by watching Rudi Johnson go for 126 yards and a score.
_ Why does everyone call Fred Taylor "Fragile Fred?" He's started 47 of the last 49 games for the Jaguars, and he's gone over 100 yards in three of his last four against the Colts. He's not listed on the NFL's weekly injury report, by the way.
HE COULD FIND A SEAM
Reuben Droughns had a solid outing last week before the Browns finally had to abandon the run. Don't forget he ran for 1,240 yards last season in Denver. The Packers held Kevin Jones in check last week, but were one of the league's worst defenses a year ago.
_ At least wait until the Vikings' Michael Bennett clears up his yardage deficit before starting him. He had six carries for minus-1 yard last week.
_ Also avoid whoever runs the ball for the Bears, Cardinals and Broncos. Denver's Tatum Bell had 47 yards, and Chicago and Arizona combined for 72.
THROW HIM THE DARN BALL!
_ Enjoy the starts for Torry Holt and the other Rams receivers while you can. QB Marc Bulger (seven sacks last week) may not be upright much longer in coach Mike Martz's innovative blocker-free scheme.
_ Drew Bennett, Titans. If the Ravens forgot to cover Marvin Harrison a couple times last week, they'll certainly let Bennett wander around by himself.
_ Jacksonville's Jimmy Smith doesn't seem as old as he is (36), and the Colts defense seemed better than it is last week against the punchless Ravens. Smith had 130 yards and two scores last week, and he has had a TD or 100 yards in his past three against the Colts.
_ Like any good journeyman, Eddie Kennison of the Chiefs likes the road. He has four TDs and three 100-yard games in his past five road games, including a 149-yard game at Oakland last season.
_ If Frisman Jackson can go for 128 yards against the Bengals, why can't Minnesota's Nate Burleson?
MAYBE THROW HIM THE DARN BALL?
_ Nothing in Ferguson's unspectacular history with the Packers suggests he'll do anything this week. But he's starting, Brett Favre is eager to atone for his bumbling opener and the Browns are in town.
HOW MANY POINTS FOR GOOD BLOCKING?
_ If you have better options, bench receivers with the Steelers and Saints, who are running more and more. Also shy away from Giants receivers because, well, that's what their quarterback does.
TIGHT ENDS TO WATCH NOT NAMED GATES OR GONZALEZ: Baker, Jason Witten (Dallas), Ben Watson (Patriots), Brandon Manumaleuna (Rams).
DEFENSES TO WATCH: Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Miami, Baltimore, Dallas.
KICKERS TO WATCH: Does anybody really want to watch kickers? If we must, here are the best this week: Rian Lindell (Bills), Josh Scobee (Jaguars), Jeff Wilkins (Rams), John Carney (Saints), Jeff Reed (Steelers).
WHAT DO I KNOW?
Here's the best and worst of last week's projections:
Big Hits: I endorsed Parker (209 total yards, TD), Peyton Manning (not the boldest pick, but it was a road game vs. Baltimore) and Cincinnati's Carson Palmer (280 yards, 2 TDs). I also warned against playing Minnesota's Bennett, Houston's Domanick Davis (48 yards) and Arizona's J.J. Arrington (5 yards).
Big Misses: I predicted failure for NFC offensive player of the week Drew Bledsoe (3 TDs) and Miami's Gus Frerotte (275 yards, 2 TDs). I also saw big things for Culpepper, Favre (2 INTs, 0 TDs) and Jamal Lewis.
Thanks for the news... Willie Parker is going to be good for a long while. Even Duce Staley is now saying he should remain the starter once he and the Bus return!
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